Tuesday, January 30, 2007

But Wait!

First Land in Huntsman. Notice I've Made it Into a Park
Huntsman is Butt-Ugly
P20 Skybox Over Huntsman
P20 Skybox, Retexturized and De-Ramped
Walking Ramp, Walking Away

(I had meant to post this before my series on the volcano warming, but I had an oopsie moment).

Written 23 January, 2007

But Wait!

Wait! Wait! I forgot something!

I forgot to tell you about what I’ve done with my First Land!

-----

It’s a madhouse on the mainland. There are no covenants—not at the places I’ve checked, anyway—and confusion and ugly construction abound.

It didn’t take five minutes for my next door neighbor Aardvark-almost-spelled-backwards to raise his land a good 10 meters, leaving me with four options: 1) raise my land to match his, passing the problem on to the neighbor on my other side; 2) live with an ugly cliff; 3) waste precious prims (only 117 on 512 sq m!) to disguise the cliff; or 4) get rid of the ugly cliff by making the land into a steep hillside.

Grrr.

So, how did I resolve this?

By making the land into a hillside park and hanging a skybox.

Film at eleven.

-----

I learned about small apartments by visiting my friend Kal Mannock. His place was not unattractive, but he had a ridiculously low prim allowance (30) and it was hard to keep perspective while inside it because of its small size.

I shopped for skyboxes that would provide the most possible space while fitting on 512 land. I found several.

The first was the Kokopelli house.

Kokopelli

The Kokopelli made a lot of sense. It weighed in at about 55-70 prims, depending on whether the teleporter, kitchen cabinetry, Kokopelli ornaments, and tintable windows were installed.

It had two levels and a flat roof which served as a patio.

It had a built-in landing ramp.

It could be easily set up as two apartments, or even three.

It was copyable.

And it came with Rez-Faux, which made it easy to set up.

All of this meant that I could hang it on my First land and rent it—maybe to two or even three different people.

There was only one problem.

It was butt-ugly.

Sweetie pointedly told me this when I took her to show it to her. She immediately began plans to retexturize it.

I’ll have to admit, it looked like a starter home for Rob and Laura Petrie on the old Dick Van Dyke Show. It was made of pale blue 60s-looking bricks, with a bay window design that would have been considered avant-garde in 1962. And the carpet! OMG! Ug-ly!

But the Kokopelli house resides, still in ugly blue, in my inventory, for I discovered that KumiKorp now makes a 512 skybox.

The Dragon Skybar is a KumiKorp P20 skybox, 20x20 meters, with only 18 prims. It’s a big roomy box that looks and feels like loft space—and so does the new P512.

The P512

The P512, weighing in at only about 20 prims, featured large touch-operated lockable industrial-sized hidden doors that made for easy landings, a loft with voice-operated ramp, a carpet with changeable textures, a dance machine, and a mist machine. And it was really big! Way cool!

I picked up a couple, hung them on my first land, and furnished them (sparsely) with a four-prim color-changing bed with single and couples sleep poses ( I sleep on the same bed myself), a couch and chair, and a carpet and table. In one of the skyboxes, I placed a Wurlitzer jukebox and a DVD player and made a big flat-screen tv so the renter would, for a premium, have control of the media on the land.

I even used three prims to put a little park—a bench and a tree—on the hillside.

My rental property was perfect.

Slumlord Thinking

I figured I could allow 30 prims unfurnished to each of the two renters, or 20 prims if they took it furnished. I would ask $150L/week for the skybox without media control, and $225L/week for the unit with.

That would add up to $19500L, or about $73 US per year, provided the units remained full. They would generate enough income to pay the annual premium for paid membership in Second Life—and the $400L/week allotment would be gravy.

I would make $73/year from my premium Second Life account.

If the units stayed full, that is.

Still, my rental property was perfect.

Enter Sweetie

Thank goodness for Sweetie.

Sweetie approved of the new skybox. She immediately began tweaking the one I had shown her, changing its floors and outside walls from maple paneling to a dark brown on which I could determine no texture whatsoever.

“I even saved you a couple of prims,” she said proudly.

“How?” I asked, with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

She had taken out the ramp.

The voice-operated ramp. The really nice feature voice-operated script-equipped ramp. The how-the-hell-does-a-gnubie-without-flying assistance-get-up-to-the-ramp-without-it really nice feature voice-operated script-equipped ramp.

I’ve not managed to get it working correctly since. No matter to which prim I link it, it tends to walk off into space whenever it’s operated. And I still can see no detail whatsoever in the texture Sweetie applied to the floors and outside walls.

I’m sure Sweetie can. But I can’t. I just see a big dark brown uni-colored blob hanging in the sky.

Sweetie overhauled my little park, too. She built an enclosure of irregularly-shaped rocks, and I linked them and then put in a group of linked trees.

And I one-prim rezzed it all. (Or, rather, I two-prim rezzed it, because all of the objects wouldn’t link as one unit. So I made them into two groups and rezzed each group as a single prim.

Meaning that I used the DAPSI, a device that will maintain linked objects as a single prim; it does this by setting the objects as temporary and then re-rezzing them as new temporary objects whenever SL recalled them.

I had removed one of the P512 skyboxes (no, not the one Sweetie had retexturized; the other one) so there would be enough available prims to build the park.

The rezzed park looked great. But when tried to rehang the second skybox, it wouldn’t rez.

There were insufficient prims.

It wouldn’t rez because—or so SL said—it would exceed the land’s prim count.

Meaning, I guess, that the one-prim park was somehow counting as more than one prim.

So I erased the one-prim rezzer (and with it went Sweetie’s wall and all the trees) and rematerialized the skybox.

Or tried to.

There were now plenty of free prims, but SL announced that the skybox hadn’t rezzed. I could see nothing, and I couldn’t capture an object in Edit, but there seemed to be a huge invisible house sitting crossways across my land, infringing on two of my neighbors.

I IMed friends asking WTF and found out it was an SL bug.

And so I left my first land with my original park destroyed, the replacement park inoperable, a damaged skybox hanging in the sky, and its replacement lost, invisible, and preventing access to my First land.

And it had all been so perfect before.

-----

Rethinking

But I’m glad it happened. Sweetie did me a favor because I re-evaluated my plans and decided they were mean-spirited. I mean, who would want to live with only 30 prims?

The new skybox was autoreturned that evening. Hooray!

I went back to the land and reconstructed my little 3-prim park. I had taken a copy of Sweetie’s rock wall, but I didn’t want to cause problems for the renter with problematic one-prim rezzes.

And took out the lower skybox and all its furnishings, then flew up to the skybox Sweetie had tweaked. I took it out and, using the same location and rotation numbers, hung a replacement unit I had just purchased. The house went to position perfectly, meaning the furniture and audiovisual equipment were placed just right.

Now the land was perfect again.

Thank goodness for Sweetie, for now I would not be trying to maximize profit and in the process making life difficult for two renters.

Now there wouldn’t be two renters, one with access to radio and movie controls, and one without.

Now there wouldn’t be two renters, each trying to wisely use an insanely low budget prim.

Now there wouldn’t be two renters living side by side, having to listen to each others’ private lives in chat.

Now there would be a single renter living high in the sky out of chat range with everyone else, with the ability to select his or her own radio and television URLs, and with a comfortable 75-prim budget.

My First Land would (assuming occupancy) be making $225 Lindens per week instead of $375, but I would be providing a high-quality enjoyable environment for someone. I was no longer a slumlord.

My First Land is perfect.

And I have my Sweetie to thank for that.

But please don’t tell her. I’d rather her think my innate sense of fairless prevailed.

And just maybe it did.

Sweetie's Seducer IV: Catharsis!

Written 30 January, 2007

Catharsis!

Catharsis!

You know, writing this blog is better for my psychological well-being than therapy! I’m almost feeling better again.

More About This Blog

Written 30 January, 2007

More About This Blog

When I created this blog, I set out to write about my experiences in my Second Life.

All of my experiences. And my reactions to them.

To my readers who might not want to read about my black times, I can only say just skip over those entries. There will be fun around the next corner.

And to my readers who know exactly what I’m talking about because they’re been there or are there now, thanks for your support.

And to Martin, I say SHAME ON YOU! SHAME!

Sweetie's Seducer III: Me

Written 30 January, 2007

Sweetie’s Seducer

3. Me


Now I’m going to reveal something about myself. Perhaps it exacerbates my insecurities. or perhaps my level of insecurity is entirely appropriate, considering the nine points I made about Martin’s poor character and bad intentions.

It will require me to reveal a small bit of my history, something I always thought had made little impression on me.

I’m a bastard.

Is it correct to call a female a bastard? Probably not, but I don’t know another word.

When I was in eighth grade, I read that brown eyes are a dominant trait. Blue-eyed parents cannot produce a brown-eyed child.

My parents have blue eyes.

I thought my eyes were brown. I now know they’re hazel, and who knows the genetics of that, but I told my mother what I’d read.

Whereupon she began to weep.

And revealed that I’d been born out of wedlock, and that my father wasn’t my biological father.

I cried with her of course—and, I thought, that was that.

As would anyone, I examined my feelings about what she had told me from time to time, but they never aroused any conscious emotion, even though my abortion had clearly been an option.

And probably that would have been that, but for the other circumstances of my life.

That’s it. That’s all. That's the thing that might have bothered me without me realizing it, the thing that may fuel my insecurities about Martin’s pursuit of Sweetie.

Which are the worst insecurities I’ve had in my entire life.

-----

Then there was my life its ownself.

First, I was an army brat. That entailed moving around a lot, and if moving around meant I got to make new friends, it also meant I lost existing ones.

I lost a lot of friends. And extended family was always a long way away.

I was married when I was twenty-three, to someone who figured that if things got difficult or boring, well, that’s what divorce was invented for.

So the marriage lasted only five years. When things got difficult or boring (I'm not sure which), that was that. Exit spouse, stage left.

When I was in my thirties, I had a tumultuous and exciting relationship that endured for eight chaotic years. We were desperately, hungrily in love with one another, enamored of and drunk on one another.

But it didn’t work. She wanted me to be something I was not, and wouldn’t forgive me and embarked on an extended crusade of verbal abuse because I couldn’t be that thing. And so we ended.

At about that time, I got word that I was to have no contact with my family. And I didn’t see my mother or brother or sister again for twelve years. I never saw my father again, for he died before I was forgiven.

To her credit, my other sister did accept me after a few years—but then she and I had always been the black sheep of the family.

-----

So, I have managed, without any particularly bad behavior on my part, to lose absolutely everyone I’ve ever loved or cared deeply about in my life.

Which, maybe, is what happens when one is a bastard.

I don’t know. I only know that in my life I eventually came to the point of not wanting to be involved with anyone for fear of the inevitable loss, fear of keeping my win/lose ration at 0%. I didn’t want to suffer another heartbreak, for the cumulative weight had come to comprise a crushing load. I didn’t need yet one more stone thrown onto the pile of lost love.

But with Sweetie, I was unable to stop myself.

-----

I had a bad time when I realized Sweetie was being ardently pursued by Martin.

And I had a moral wrestling match with myself, and I determined that perhaps he would be better for her than I was.

I had a worse time when Sweetie revealed she had met Martin face-to-face. I was in shock for the rest of the day, and I had a restless night.

I’m a secure person, but I have my limits. They’d just been surpassed.

I almost never have restless nights. If I was told I was to be shot at sunrise, I would probably manage to get in a good nap.

But Sweetie had made it clear there were factors mitigating against our ever being more than SL sweeties. Meeting Sweetie face-to-face was not in the cards. Now she had (to her credit! I would hate for her ever to think she need conceal anything from me) revealed that she had met face-to-face my only (to date) competitor, a man whose intentions, I was absolutely certain, weren’t good.

Maybe, just maybe all this would be enough to drive anyone crazy and I’ve managed pretty well under the circumstances.

But I can do even better. And I will. For as long as I can stand it, anyway.

I’ll do my utmost not to blow up like Pele the volcano. Or worse, to implode rather than explode.

Sweetie's Seducer II: Me and Sweeetie

Written 30 January, 2007

Sweetie’s Seducer

II. Me and Sweetie


I love Sweetie.

At my deepest levels I love her and I want what is best for her, whether or not that includes me.

That’s why my horse, unlike the horses of some I could name, is white.

I hope Sweetie’s future does include me, of course. Desperately. But I will suck it up if it doesn’t.

I really want what is best for her.

That’s why in my about-a-month-ago post “Sweetie’s Suitor” I indicated I was willing to bow out for Martin. I thought he might care, or come to care, about her as I do.

That was what led to the entire “Chey’s Breakdown” sequence.

I now know there’s no chance that Martin either loves her or wants what is best for her. So now I’m actively hoping he will play no part in her RL future. I would love for her to get the work he’s dangling in front of her nose, but I’m certain he means her no good, so now I’m rooting against him. I won’t bow out for a cad and a bounder.

I’m not an insecure person. My nervousness about Martin’s wooing of Sweetie doesn’t come from any distrust of her or even from jealousy (much). I’ve held my peace for a long time because I needed to work things through. Now I have.

I love Sweetie and I trust her and I believe what she tells me of her times with Martin. Some might think me a fool for believing in her and trusting in her, but I’m not a fool. I just know my sweetie.

Sweetie

This is my Sweetie:

* She’s a strong and sophisticated and talented woman with a wicked sense of humor and an appreciation of the absurd that perfectly mirrors mine.

* She, like all of us, is working through some issues in her first life.

* She is a considerate and caring friend.

* She is a wonderful lover.

* She loves me and is coming to love me more as she learns more about me.

* She is open and friendly in her Second Life encounters with gnubies.

* She sees the best in people.

* She has a big heart.

* She is ambitious in regard to her first life and interested in building her career.

As part of her healing, Sweetie is reaching out in SL. I’m part of that healing.

She may eventually desire to have a nonexclusive relationship in SL, or start a RL relationship with someone who has never heard of Second Life, or something may come between us that leads to a breakup. But we will always be friends. Whatever may happen, I will always admire and respect and love her and wish the best for her. And I will never, ever give her reason to doubt or mistrust or despise me.

I love Sweetie, unconditionally and regardless.

Me and Sweetie

When Sweetie needs a shoulder to cry on, I am happy to provide one. And in this she reciprocates. I’ve had some hard times in SL, and she has been a marvelous solace, a soft and cuddly respite from whatever ails me in my first life, or my second.

When she wants to shop, I am happy to shop. When she wants to build, I am happy to build. When she wants to cuddle, I am happy to cuddle. And when she wants to...

‘Nuff said.

When Sweetie needs assistance, I will offer it, and if she wants, I will give it—but I don’t take over her projects or intrude more than is necessary. I managed—even if it was more by trial-and-error than by brilliance—to get functioning the windows texture change script that had been driving her batty for more than a week—I stopped at soon as I made it work. I didn’t even clean up my sloppy work. I merely gave her what she asked for, and no more.

I will not stifle Sweetie, for that is one thing she does not need. It’s part of her healing process. As much as I may want to rush in and make things better, I restrain myself. It’s sometimes not an easy thing to do, and in my life, there have been times when I couldn’t resist. With Sweetie, I have managed to resist.

I never run out of things to talk about with Sweetie. We can and do go on for hours, usually long after we both should have been in bed. Thank goodness we both live in the same time zone.

I never cease to be amazed by Sweetie: by the way her avatar catches the reflection of the firelight or how endearing she looks when she has taken off her shoes but forgotten to remove her shoe base, certainly, but more by her determination, her good judgment, her passions for Cheyenne and for life, her weak and moody moments, her occasional insecurities, her brilliant building and texturing. With Sweetie, it just gets better and better.

One of the things that impresses me most about Sweetie is that she has a clear sense of boundaries. She sets and enforces them, but is constantly re-evaluating and revising them. That’s so healthy.

I so dearly love her.

-----

I like to believe I behaved with decency and patience and respect with regard to Sweetie’s former relationship with the-man-who-shall-remain-nameless-in-this-blog. I certainly kept my feelings to myself until he was a thing of the past.

I’ve not been so perfect with regard to Martin.

First, I had my little breakdown (previously blogged) when I realized he was pursuing her.

Second, when I beat him to solving the windows code (we were working side by side, and it wasn’t a competition, although I rather thought of it as one and I know he did too; he’s a guy, after all) I sent Sweetie a “Yadayadaya, I be-eat Martin” IM. That was childish.

And so much fun.

And finally, I’ve been moody at times when Martin is around or has been around Sweetie, and even when I know he has IMed. At times I’ve spilled this moodiness over into Chey’s behavior. She just becomes untalkative for a time.

And I’ve asked Sweetie too frequently about what is happening with regard to Martin.

That’s not good. I’m working on it.

I realize that what Sweetie and Martin do or don’t do is none of my business. I’m not perfect, and I will continue to have insecurities with regard to Martin, but I’ll continue to be polite to him and I will not hold his pursuit of Sweetie against her.

Or such is my goal.

-----

There’s only one thing Sweetie did with regard to Martin—or, rather, didn’t do—that bothered me.

And I knew she had her reasons, for I had already revealed to her my feelings about Martin.

Sweetie had told me she might visit Martin, and she told me she was going into New York City, but she didn’t tell me until afterward that she had gone there for a job interview with Martin and his offices there.

To her credit, she told me afterward—but she didn’t specifically tell me beforehand that she would be meeting him that day.

I’m sure she just wished to spare my feelings. And I had given her reason to do so.

And above all, she owes me nothing. She is free to do as she pleases.

It just bothered me a little, that’s all. And it was a while ago, so no worries.

No one is perfect.

:)

Sweetie's Seducer I: That Bastard Martin

Written 29 January, 2006

Sweetie’s Seducer

I. That Bastard Martin


Sweetie’s relationship with Martin troubles me for a lot of reasons—mostly related to Martin, or, rather, my assessment of his character and motivations. Here’s the breakdown.

First, His Intentions Are Clear

Martin’s intentions are implicit by his actions of course, but he has repeatedly made them explicit. Sweetie has told me this much. And I have heard him call her his muse.

Martin wants Sweetie for a Second-Life lover and a first-life mistress.

Second, He Has Been Persistent

From the day he met her, Martin has pursued Sweetie relentlessly, despite her insistence, she says (and I believe her) that they be only friends. He may lay off for a time when she rebuffs him, but like a bad penny, he always returns. He IMs her often—sometimes, I suspect, even when she and I are together.

I mean, I know my friends check in. I’m sure he does.

Third, He Has Lavished Her With Gifts Calculated to Impress

Martin has created toys in which I believe he has little or no interest, or at best a dispassionate interest, as they present him with a scripting challenge, and presented them to Sweetie with (I believe, since I haven’t been able to read his script code or look at the details of his objects) everything securely locked up.

They inevitably fall apart, but this doesn’t matter, for it impresses Sweetie, who gets all weak in the knees with the “physics engines” Martin uses in his code.

Or so Sweetie informed me when I mentioned that Martin’s toys destructed. “Martin uses physics engines!”

That’s such bullshit. Not on Sweetie’s part, certainly, for she has difficulty with scripting and goes all squishy around coders. He’s just making objects revolve and move laterally along x, y, and x coordinates. I’ve seen no evidence that he has his objects set to physical—and even then, it’s just fracking code, for godsakes.

Anyway, to date Martin has given Sweetie a swing for her dragon avatar (even though he doesn’t understand or even appreciate her reasons for being a dragon sometimes). It promptly fell apart and I’ve not seen it since.

He unilaterally made a giant bobbing bird and gave it to Sweetie. (This was, to my understanding, to be an Icarus Society group project, which had stopped me from making one myself). It fell apart after fifteen minutes.

When he learned she would be landscaping Pele South, he gave her a garden globe. To date, it hasn’t fallen apart.

And after the reception he brought her one of those cages they use in the circus—the kind with two hollow cylinders connected by a long arm, with an axis in the middle. The sort performers make spin round and round by walking on the cages.

It didn’t have time to fall apart, for parcel autoreturn reclaimed it (I had set the autoreturn because of the open house).

So, Martin, who I am quite certain does not understand the concept of fabulousness, has been doing his utmost to construct fabulous gifts for my Sweetie. And his sweetie.

Fourth, He Comes Around Only When Sweetie is Alone and Disappears Quickly When Others Come Around

Martin inevitably materializes when no one but Sweetie is about. Sometimes he doesn’t stay long because of what Sweetie believes is shyness but I’m certain is nervousness (explained below)—and he inevitably finds a reason for a prompt departure when I or others come around.

I’ve noticed that this seems unrelated to the hour, setting, or situation. It’s definitely an I-Want-To-Be-Alone-With-Sweetie thing.

Fifth, He Gets All Discombobulated Around Sweetie


Martin is a nervous nellie in Second Life. “He’s shy,” Sweetie says.

Not.

Martin is nervous because he wants Sweetie so badly he can’t stand it and it drives his blood pressure up.

When he met her in person, his sweatiness and nervousness were quite clear to her. And no, it wasn’t shyness. It was lust and anticipation and guilt.

Yes, he has met Sweetie in real life.

I’ve never met Sweetie in real life.

Sixth, He Has Lied to Sweetie

When he first met Sweetie, Martin told her he was fifty-seven years old. Later, he admitted to being sixty-one. Which means he is probably sixty-five.

“Fifty-seven. Yuck!” said Sweetie, after first meeting him. “That’s old enough to be my father!”

And worse, Martin disguised the fact that he was married until he met Sweetie in real life.

Seventh, He Is Using Sweetie’s Ambitions to Trap Her, With No Real Intention of Helping Her

Martin is using every trick in the married man’s I-want-to-seduce-you armamentarium on Sweetie. He has gone so far as to offer her work in real life.

Perhaps this enticement will lead to work for Sweetie—and perhaps not. But clearly it is something Martin has set up as a lure, as a trap for my Sweetie. He is using her ambition to put her in a situation in which she can be seduced.

He may actually help Sweetie, but if he does, it will be secondary and incidental to his actual purpose—which is to get her in bed, both in Second Life and in real life.

Martin, a married 61-year-old man, wanted Sweetie for both a Second Life lover and, provided she passed his visual inspection, a first-life lover.

So Martin, who lives in an East Coast city close to Sweetie’s arranged for an interview/audition for Sweetie. At his office, of course, for his wife (he gets annoyed when Sweetie berates him for neglecting his wife) would be at home. And Sweetie went.

As a safety measure, she took her friend Perry along.

So there has been an in-person visual inspection. And after a lull of a few days while Martin puzzled out whether he found her desirable in real life, the wooing continued. That means she ultimately passed the test.

Of course she would. I’ve seen her RL photos. She’s beautiful.

Eighth, He Contrived to Get Past a Locked Door and Go into our Bedroom to Check It Out

Yep.

That’s right.

The only way to do that is to rotate camera view into a house and sit on an object.

And that’s just what that bastard Martin did.

Sweetie thinks it’s a teleport accident, but Sweetie is in some ways an innocent.

I know he did it, for if I had been in his situation I would have wanted to.

He even commented on our pose balls.

I know he suspected our relationship. Now he knew. It didn’t deter him.

I was in love with Sweetie for more than a month before I told her. I waited because she was in a relationship.

That’s what I mean by character. Martin, clearly, lacks it. Or, rather, his character is reprehensible.

Ninth, He Has Never Offered Me Friendship

Because Sweetie lives on Pele and because Martin has only a small parcel somewhere, most of his wooing has taken place on my property.

And I’m online a lot, so there have been times when I’ve been around. We've met one another perhaps a half-dozen times.

I didn’t offer him friendship. First, because he has no interest in me or what I have done with the land, and second, because I find him pathetic and lacking in character, but mostly because I wanted to wait and see if he had character enough to offer friendship to me.

He didn’t.

And now that I’ve blogged about it, it’s clearly too late.

-----

So there you have it.

My assessment is that Martin is a dirty old man who is looking for a first-life mistress. He detests his wife and wants a young woman to tell him he is young, handsome, desirable, and virile—well, virile should have come first. Sweetie is his number one candidate.

Martin doesn’t love Sweetie. He’s certainly infatuated with her, and probably even fond of her, but his behavior doesn’t speak of love, but of cunning seduction. In real life, he has shown himself willing to use her ambition and need for work to set her up for an in-the-flesh seduction scenario. In Second Life, he has taken her to places where they were alone in hopes he would get up the nerve to put the moves on her.

He’s a self-serving, conniving motherfucker who is willing to use and abuse my Sweetie to have his way with her. Thank the goddess he's a twittery little shit whose seduction skills are far from polished.

Fuck you, Martin, and the horse you rode in on.

My horse, by the way, you son-of-a-bitch, is white.

Sweetie's Seducer: Introduction

Written 30 January. 2007

Sweetie’s Seducer

Introduction


I wrote some time ago about my Sweetie’s suitor. As it was time—past time—to update that topic, I started this series of blogs out with the title “Sweetie’s Suitor, Redux.” But after finishing the first entry, I—for what should be patently obvious reasons—renamed it “Sweetie’s Seducer.”

I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em

Parcel Party III: Aftermath

Written 29 January, 2006

Parcel Party

III. Aftermath


When my five-minute after-the-party cleanup was done, my Mystitool told me Sweetie had arrived. She was 75 meters away, on the Pele South land.

And so was her suitor.

I can’t tell you how this made me feel.

It was after one pm Linden time. I had been in-world since 6 am, playing hostess, charming visitors and being sergeant-at-arms to the few who had misbehaved. With the exception of two three-minute bathroom breaks, I had been at the keyboard in a highly stressful situation for more than seven hours, running my open house without assistance. And now, Sweetie, who had barely said hello, was off with the one person in Second Life who makes me nervous.

Martin, her suitor.

Now, I am not by nature a jealous person in real life, and Chey is a reasonably secure avatar, but Martin’s intentions and behavior in regard to Sweetie trouble me for a lot of reasons—and I will soon tell you why.

As keyed up as I was, the next few hours were terrible. I tried to finished a bridge I had been making to cross the lava, but chat spam from the trivia machine I had set out on South Beach and Babbler translations obscured my view. I didn’t want to mute the trivia machine, for most of the time I like to play, and I didn’t want to take it up because a late-staying guest was enjoying himself with it, so I just attempted to fix the bridge. Twice I thought I had it, and twice when I took it, there was a part left behind. Damn, damn, damn.

Finally, I gave up.

Eventually, I was alone with Sweetie.

She mentioned that she was unable to rez objects on Pele, so I walked across the property line and took off the ban. When I got back, she was gone.

I could have, should have sent her an IM telling her I would be off-world for a while, but I was so very very weary and so annoyed that I hit the big red X and took myself off world for a nap.

Parcel Party II: Snowcrash

Written 29 January, 2007

Open House

II. Snowcrash


It was a slow crash.

You know the ones. Suddenly you realize nothing has shown up in chat for a while. You type something, and it doesn’t go to Chat. Your IMs aren’t coming in, either. And you try to move, and can’t.

It hit us all that way. Eventually we figured it out and logged off and back on.

We had crashed the sim.

Snowcrash.

Everyone was back in ten minutes, including Bill and Pam. We were ready to go again.

Then, three seconds after the Havercamps’ stream started, the radio station change I had done five minutes earlier finally came in (usually it takes five seconds) and wiped out the live concert.

After that, we couldn’t get the music going again. The stream was broken—and not only in Pele. It wouldn’t work on Pele South, or on Bill’s private property, or at his guitar shop.

If only I hadn’t sent in that radio station change we might have been able to have finishd the concert. But we couldn’t.

Sweetie arrived right after the snowcrash, but disappeared when I went into the sky for two minutes to lower the bamboo hut and fire ring I had raised 200 meters (it was easy, I just decreased the z position by exactly 200 meters).

I took up the cushions and extra seats I had placed and Pam arrived to pick up her dance pose balls. The open house was officially over.

A great time was had by all.

Open House I, Parcel Party




Written 29 January, 2007

Open House

I. Parcel Party


The open house at Pele went swimmingly.

There were lots of people.

Bill and Pam Havercamp put on their best performance ever.

All my neighbors were there, all of Forsaken.

We crashed the sim.

How cool is that?

-----

The open house was scheduled for Sunday between 9 am and Noon, Linden time, with Bill and Pam’s concert at 11 am. But when I logged on at six o’clock (nine o’clock for me!), avatars were already showing up. They were, in fact, showing up at a rate of about 30 an hour.

I stood on top of the altar at the temple to Pele, just behind the entry point, and bade each av welcome, saying, “Aloha, avatar. Welcome to Pele!”

A lot of the folks were friendly, but many didn’t reply even to a second hello in chat, which annoyed me.

I banned two people—not for not talking to me, although I was tempted to ban several no-talkers simply because they wouldn’t talk—but for other reasons. I banned one because I was certain it was he who had placed the pyramid scheme pyramid next to my notecard giver. Everyone else present was looking around, playing in the lava, and chatting, but one av remained in position where he had materialized, not talking. When he didn’t reply to my pointed question about the pyramid, I banned him before he could place more.

He may have been a bot. He was new and unfinished-looking—but the pyramid was placed perfectly right next to my notecard dispenser. A bot couldn’t do that (at least without elaborate scripting), so it was probably a real person.

This motivated me to go to the About Land menu and turn off the ability of visitors to rez objects on the land. I’m glad I did, because throughout the day, someone kept trying to rez fishes in the underwater park.

The second banned avatar—another non-talker—was carrying a bloody ax. I asked him twice in chat to lose the ax, and a third time in an IM. When he didn’t drop it, I banned him.

I am not required to suffer fools on my own Second Life land.

A third avatar showed up naked. I politely asked him to put on some clothes, and he did.

Pam Havercamp came over about an hour before the concert to check the venue. At her suggestion I added cushions for seating and she put out some dance pose balls to supplement my tango and slow-dance (the only two I own). I raised one of the bamboo huts 200 meters into the air, which provided more space.

It was time for the show.

At a quarter before eleven, I sent out a final IM invitation to my friends. Pam sent out invitations to her large group of fans, and she and Bill teleported in at ten minutes before the hour. They gave me the URL of their stream, and we were off.

Bill and Pam are hugely popular entertainers in SL By the time the concert started, there were about thirty people in Forsaken. Within a few minutes, the simulator was at its capacity, refusing entry to those trying to teleport. My fame rate had slowed to five (not bad for so many people!), but otherwise SL was performing perfectly.

Bill and Pam were sounding great.

They started with (because of the pirate flag I have hanging from the decking) a rousing and highly-publishable pirate song Bill had written, and then my favorite from their repertoire, Cambridge Town, which was written by a friend of Bill’s.

My good friend Melissa Yeuxdoux was there, and my friend Bell, and Dodgeguy, and Leaf and her boyfriend Armando, and Nikolas, and Sorcha, Mordecai Scaggs’ little sister (Mordecai had sent his regrets several days earlier). It would have been perfect if Sweetie and Exuberance had been there, but Xubi was driving home from a business trip to Maryland, and Sweetie—well, with Sweetie, who knows? Maybe she was shopping and the open house escaped her mind. Maybe her laptop overheated, as it sometimes does. Maybe she was building something and got absorbed in it.

There was a contingent of Europeans present. Bill and Pam’s fans in Europe don’t get to hear them that often, as they usually play in the late afternoon and early evening, Linden time. That’s wicked early hours in the Western Europe.

We were having a fabulous time.

Then the sim crashed.

Monday, January 29, 2007

About This Blog

Written 23 January, 2007


About This Blog

For the first time, this blog has caught up to my whirlwind Second Life.

It has required several hundred posts over a period of less than three months, but well, there we are.

From now on, I think I will be blogging more-or-less in real time.

I even bought a HUD that promises to let me do that.

Priorities

Lava Flowing to the Sea, Big Island, Hawaii

Written 23 January, 2007

Priorities

Owning Pele has been a learning experience and, despite the occasional headaches, a joy. But it has pretty much taken me out of circulation so far as my usual Second Life activities are concerned.

I’ve not been on the SL Trivia scoreboard since forever.

I’ve only occasionally been to the live concerts of my dear friends Pam and Bill Havercamp.

I’ve not bought a single outfit, or a pair of shoes, or any bling.

And I’ve not been exploring, or revisited any of the many beautiful and exciting SL places that are in my Landmarks folder.

It’s been a whir of building, with days spent moving things about, and, above all, figuring out how to make what I’ve imagined manifest on the land—and nights spent cuddling with Sweetie.

I’m hoping that’s about to change.

Not the Sweetie part, of course!

Pele is finished, and Sweetie is in charge of designing and decorating the land we’re calling South Beach (I’m leading toward the Pele Conservancy as a permanent name). Except for the occasional tweak, and a couple of building projects that need refining (two of which are the flying paper towel roll and Sweetie’s Valentine’s Day present)—none of which are pressing—I plan to spend more time out in the world.

Right after the open house.

I’m busy this week, getting the place ready—hanging spotlights, putting in a property-wide teleport system, and configuring a notecard dispenser, little touches that should help my visitors.

But then I’m taking myself out exploring.

What I’ve Learned

When I bought Pele, I knew how to work the Appearance sliders for my avatar, more-or-less work the various menus, open boxes and extract the outfits from them, and move objects around in three-dimensional space. That’s about it.

I learned by doing. When I couldn’t figure things out, I consulted the SL knowledge base. If I was still stumped, I would IM my friend Bill Havercamp, who was always great, if often monosyllabic.

And so I learned how to create, size, position, apply texture, and link objects; stretch or condense texture densities, change the texture on only one side of an object, cut away sections of objects, make them transparent or semi-transparent, make them give off light, and twist and distort them. All of this lets me make things as different as a lily pad on which to set my croaking frog and a little bridge, and even my giant roll of paper towels.

And I’ve learned how to put scripts in objects to make them perform various functions (rotate, move their textures in a lateral or circular motion, make sounds, and more. [I’ve no knowledge of Linden Scripting Language, or of C, on which LSL is based, but I’ve been able to work wonders by locating and manipulating the variables in the code]. This has enabled me to make flowing lava and intelligent objects.

And I’ve learned how to shape the land. Yesterday, I was able to terrace the south side of Pele to Sweetie’s specifications. It was an exacting and difficult job, and I did it with ease.

And I’ve learned how audio and video works in Second Life.

All of this might not sound like much, but it has enabled me to realize my dreams for Pele—and that includes making what is arguably the best-performing volcano in Second Life, and maybe even the foggiest river. And it let me build a custom video system for my friend Leaf Shermer.

There are still a lot of things I don’t know—I’m bewildered by the options for flexible objects, for instance—but I’ve learned that with persistence, I can do anything Second Life physics will let me do.

Thank you, Pele, for giving me all this!

Thanks to Leaf Shermer and Nikolas Dix

Bullfrog at Pele

Written 22 January, 2007

Thanks to Leaf Shermer and Nikolas Dix

I would like to thank my neighbors Leaf and Nikolas for their generosity.

Thanks, Nikolas, for the many things you gave me after the sim rollback’s rollback last week.

Some of that stuff has come in really handy.

Thanks, Leaf, for paying me for the design work. You really didn’t need to, but it is much appreciated. And you were very generous.

I feel so privileged in Second Life. I’ve met so many nice people, and they have been incredibly nice to me.

I do try to pass it on.

SL Stats

Written 22 January, 2007

SL Stats

I saw an interesting feature on Mordecai Scaggs’ blog the other day, and you’ll see it on mine now—Second Life Stats.

It’s the little box you see at the left of the screen. It gives my online stats, and the amount of time I’ve spent on Second Life.

You’d better believe I’ve spent more time in SL than the indicator shows. It started counting only after I downloaded the small applet from the SLprofiles website.

If it showed how much time I’ve actually spent in SL, it would be positively frightening!

Now that Pele is finished, I’m dedicating my Second Life to overtaking Mordecai, who has a head start of about two weeks.

SL Stats runs from an applet you download from the http://www.slprofiles.com/ website. It will also run from a HUD that you can pick up in-world. It’s free, and it has some handy features, especially an easy teleport voice command, but it runs on channel one, like the Mysti-Tool, and I’m not sure it can be easily reassigned to another frequency. So I installed the program.

SL Profiles lets you post pictures and information about both your first or second lives. I’m not sure how much time I’ll spend entering information, as it keeps my out of SL—but it’s nice to know it’s available.

Thanks, Mordecai, for pointing me to the website.

OMG, have I been in world THAT much?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Open House at Pele, 1/28/2007 9 AM-Noon Linden Time


Written 22 January, 2007

Open House at Pele

Sunday, 28 January, 2007

9 AM - Noon Linden Time

There will be an open house at Pele, in the Forsaken sim, next weekend, and everyone is invited.

Pirate attire and swimwear are suggested dress, but you can come as you are. Be sure to bring your watercraft, as Pele is next to a huge lagoon.

Second Life celebrities Bill and Pam Havercamp will be playing live on East Beach at 11 am Linden time on Sunday the 28th.

Just after the concert, we will sacrifice a virgin to Pele the volcano goddess. This is conditional, depending upon whether a virgin can actually be found.

I and Exuberance Lafleur will be around most of the weekend to answer questions and conduct tours.

Dodgeguy Woodward and Damian Marseille will be having a housewarming as well, with a live DJ on Friday night. IM Dodgeguy for details.

The entire sim will be accessible for visitors (but please ask before going into any of the houses that are not actually on Pele). In fact, the adjacent sims are quite beautiful and, although residential, are for the most part available for a fly-over.

On East Beach I’ll have a map-and-teleport board that will give a visual display of Pele and give a notecard that will describe the island’s features. In keeping with the theme of the land (tropical island, pirates), the music will be set to Hawaiian most of the weekend, but the movie control will be set to danceable videos. There will be dance floors and lights at both East Beach and at the Dragon Skybar, which sits at 550 meters.

Be sure to check out Dodgeguy’s huge floating night club which is clearly visible from the deck of the Skybar. You’ll love the coconut-hurling monkeys.

Some things to check out on Pele and in the lagoon adjacent:

* The temple to Pele, which features a translucent image of the volcano goddess and a blood-stained altar.

* Wadeable and splashable lava (quite pleasant if Pele likes you). Watch out for the special spot that will let you go under the volcano. If you make it, you’ll find a teleport ball just visible in the pool at the lowest reaches.

* Erupt mode. Just ask me to turn it on and off.

* Lava flow. Follow it down the mountain.

* Underwater park with splashable water. The seahorses are an endangered species. But watch out for Sammy the shark. One of my pelicans has gone missing.

* Shoreline. Stand in the surf and let the waves crash over you.

* East Beach. Sunbathe, sit in a tribal hut or chaise lounge or swing on the hammock, wash off the sand in the shower hut, or have a drink at the Tiki bar (or, after hours, a beer from the tub or a Coke from the machine on the beach). Ask me to show you the fog on the river. Find the Devotion and Tango animations on the stage. And if you’re there between 11 and noon on Sunday, listen to Pam and Bill Havercamp’s live performance. And let me know if you know where the Loveless Motel can be found.

* River and lagoon. See the humpback whale, the sunken boats, the discarded tire, the octopi! And try out that canoe or sailboat or surfboard you have in inventory.

* Exuberance: the house. See the beautiful and elegant house Exuberance Lafleur built, with its blend of island and Asian themes and textures. Stand or sit on the porch or ride the swing. Be sure to set sunset. Beautiful! And the house itself is beautiful and elegantly furnished. Sit and chat with a friend or play the piano (sheet music is on the rest). Click the swirling yellow teleport ball to go upstairs, or fly around and land on the deck. Be sure to look down into the stained glass inset in the floor, and up through the roof; if you’re lucky, you’ll see the moon! There’s a tv upstairs for your viewing pleasure. Click the aquarium to see the background color change.

* Waterfall and entrance to South Beach. See the frog on his lily pad. Splash through the water. Set night, for the tiki lights have a beautiful glow in the dark.

* South Beach. This land, recently acquired by the Pele Conservatory, is under construction, but feel free to walk or fly around. Walk through the terraced areas on the hillside, and be sure to check out Exuberance’s beautiful pool and fountain.

* Dragon skybar. Teleport (if we can work out the distance limitation thing; if not, there will be a jetpack dispenser at the map-and-teleport board) to my nightclub in the sky. Play the piano (sheet music is on the rest), have a drink, sit and talk with friends, or dance under the colorful spotlights (you’ll see the dance ball just below the Dance sign). Be sure to look up at the video display. Find the hidden doors and walk on the marble balcony. And click on the inset image of Pele to sacrifice yourself to her. (Note: I’m still working on a teleporter that will reach the lava below, but turn fly off after the TP and you should fall into the lava in the caldera).

There will be times when I’m busy, but I’ll be happy to chat with you this weekend or any other time.

I hope you enjoy your time on Pele.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I Love to Wade in the Lava



Written 21 January, 2007

I Love to Wade in the Lava

If Pele likes you, you can wade in the lava without betting burned.

Pele likes me.

Xubi's Reflecting Pool





Written 21 January, 2007

Xubi's Reflecting Pool

The night I met Exuberance Lafleur she was working on a magnificant zen fountain. (I call it a reflecting pool)

It's now sitting on Pele South.

It was the first thing Xubi ever made.

It's wonderful.

Xubi is wonderful.

A Tour of Pele VIII: Conclusion


Written 2 January, 2007

A Tour of Pele

VIII. Tour Conclusion


This ends the Pele Conservancy’s tour of Pele, the home of the volcano goddess. We hope you’ve enjoyed yourself. Feel free to make a donation to help us keep Pele beautiful, and remember, you can explore to your heart’s content.

Thank you for visiting Pele.

We would like to announce the Pele Conservancy has just acquired the 5100 sq m plot to the north and restored the conical shape of the mountain; it was cut away by the previous owner. We will soon be installing gardens and waterfalls for your pleasure.

Do please come ag--

What’s that sound!?

Oh—look! Ash in the air! And the earth is moving! I think Pele is in one of her moods.

Uh, would any of you happen to be a virgin?

-----

Photo: Almost certainly a virgin

A Tour of Pele VIII: Exuberance Welcome Center





Welcome Center, a building designed by Exuberance Lafleur

Written 2 January, 2007

A Tour of Pele

VII. Exuberance Welcome Center


This building was custom-built by acclaimed Second Life designer Exuberance Lafleur. It blends Asian design themes and island textures, creating a pleasant and roomy space. The mountain was carved away a bit to allow it to sit at a 322-degree angle, cater-cornered at the edge of the Forsaken sim.

Be sure to get a good look at the beautiful stained glass inset in the ceiling of the first floor. It softly diffuses light throughout the structure. The roof allows views of the night sky.

You can get a free Pele Conservancy t-shirt there. Have some coffee—and be sure you take a look at the volcano just to the south. There’s a great spot for lovers behind the waterfall.

A Tour of Pele VI: Dragon Skybar






Written 2 January, 2007

A Tour of Pele

VI. Dragon Skybar


Here at 550 meters is the Dragon Skybar, a fine place to dance and have a good time. Buy a drink, sit with your friends, lounge on the deck. Tell your friends about the Dragon!

And check out the video array high overhead.

There are games, too—a pinball machine, and Mah Jongg.

We were happy to find this low-priced, low—prim industrial building. As you can see, we’ve put it to good use.

Now we go to the Pele Conservancy’s welcome center.

A Tour of Pele V: East Beach






Written 2 January, 2007

A Tour of Pele

V: East Beach


Available for rent for beach parties and concerts, East Beach features a stage, tiki bar, pier and boat, island huts, beach towels and furniture, and a pier and boat. It’s a great place to hang out and sip drinks with umbrellas in them, or to swim or dive or fish. The fish decal on the deck makes a great landing target for skydivers and skyboarders. And look—pose balls!

The image on the stage backdrop is Loveless Motel. It’s a local secret in Nashville, famous for its great breakfasts. Biscuits and red eye gravy and country ham and eggs and grits. Heaven!

Sometimes at night we project movies onto the screen. And sometimes there are live concerts.

Now on to the Dragon Skybar.

Underwater Park






A Tour of Pele IV: Lava Flow and Underwater Park






Written 2 January, 2007

A Tour of Pele

IV: Lava Flow and Underwater Park


Some years ago, Pele had a significant eruption. Part of the crater collapsed and molten lava burst through to flow down the flank of the mountain to the sea. It was accompanied by a pyroclastic flow that killed every living thing on the north side of Pele. Fortunately the prevailing winds blew the ash westward, out to sea, rather than toward the inhabited sims south of Forsaken.

The flow continues to this date. As you can see, it’s still hissing into the sea.

The water here, warmed by the lava, makes for pleasant swimming and diving. Murray the moray is like a pet. You needn’t fear him—but beware the shark and octopus that lurk in the estuary near East Beach.

The sea horses are the last remaining population of the subspecies. Fortunately, they spawn at a high rate. We’re thinking of exporting mated pairs to other sims in hopes they’ll proliferate.

If you go under the water, you’ll see the lava cooling and finally solidifying. Up above the water, it’s all smoke and commotion.

Someone long ago made a bridge out of found objects, so let’s cross the lava and walk over to East Beach.


Late Note: After a lingering illness, Murray the moray succumbed to intestinal parasites. He has been replaced by Sammy the shark, who has already eaten one of my pelicans. Beware!

A Tour of Pele III: The Temple to Pele




The Temple to Pele. Note Image of Pele and the Bloodstains on the Altar!



Written 2 January, 2007

A Tour of Pele

III: The Temple to Pele


The origins of the Temple to Pele are obscure. We don’t know a lot about its history, only that the granite from which it is made isn’t found in these islands. The islands are made from dried basaltic lava and pumice and coral. The nearest source of granite is the mainland, which means it was ferried thousands of miles in outrigger canoes or bamboo rafts.

The temple dates from approximately 1000 A.D. The people who made it have long been gone, and they left no written record, just the temple and the great stone heads you’ll find scattered around the land. We’re fairly certain the altar you see before you was used for human sacrifices to the volcano goddess, for a team of forensic anthropologists from SLU collected and analyzed a dark red material from the cracks and found human DNA from more than one hundred individuals.

In other Pacific cultures, only certified virgins were eligible for sacrifice. We don’t know if that was the case in Pele, but it seems likely.

The altar platform is supported by two massive pillars which have tiki faces carved into them. We’re afraid they’ll melt from the heat. If that were to happen, the entire structure would tumble into the caldera.

It’s a tossup whether Pele has a crater or a caldera. You can call it a large crater or a small caldera.

As you can see, the temple is in a state of disrepair. Throughout the tour, you’ll see pieces which have broken away and fallen either inside the caldera or down the mountainside.

Restoration is underway. As you might expect, it will be expensive. We do accept donations. There’s a donation box in the Welcome Center, but you can donate by tipping me. I turn over 100% of my tips to the restoration project.

You can see an image of Pele in the vertical temple wall. This picture of Pele is the selected texture for video on the island. Any time you see Pele, you can hit movie control. This particular image is exempt, however.

Now let’s talk look at a lava flow and an underwater swimming and SCUBA park.

A Tour of Pele II: The Volcano Pele


The Caldera at Pele, Dormant and In Eruption

Written 2 January, 2007

A Tour of Pele

II: The Volcano Pele


As volcanoes go, Pele is relatively new. She’s less than two thousands years old.

That explains her relative smallness.

There’s another, larger volcano here in the adjacent sim, but it’s dormant. Pele is an active stratovolcano; she erupts periodically, spewing out noxious gases and throwing lava thousands of feet into the air. Residents live in constant fear of ash storms and pyroclastic flows.

It was at such times the ancients would prepare a virgin sacrifice.

The island is made of solidified magma on which coral reefs have formed. You’ll notice the sand is yellow rather than black volcanic sand. This was a terraforming decision of the Dreamland people and is out of our control.

The lava in the crater maintains a steady surface temperature of 1200 Celcius or about 2100 degrees Fahrenheit. Rumor has it those favored by Pele are able to withstand its heat.

There’s also a rumor the mountain is hollow inside and that if you find a special place in the lava, you will fall under the volcano.

We believe Pele has the best lava effects in all of SL.

We will now explore the Temple to Pele.